Anthony Harley

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Anthony Harley
Birth name Harley, Anthony Little Benny
Born (1963-09-26)September 26, 1963
Washington, D.C.
Origin Washington, D.C.
Died May 30, 2010(2010-05-30) (aged 46)
Genres Go-go
Occupations Musician
Instruments Trumpet
Years active 1974-2010

Anthony Harley (1963–2010), better known by his stage name "Little Benny", was an American Trumpet player, who was a part of the Washington D.C. based go-go band Rare Essence. He was named by Kato Hammond, the founder of Take me out to the Go Go magazine, as one of the founding fathers of the genre.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Harley was born on Sept. 26, 1963 in Washington D.C.. His father, Frank Harley, sang in a band called Bell Chorda. He grew up playing guitar, but soon grew enamored by the trumpet. "I saw this guy playing a horn in the parking lot and told him, 'Let me see that thing. How do you play this?'" He said.[1][2]

Go-Go music scene[edit]

Harley was a senior in high school when go-go music emerged on the scene. Washington D.C. based R&B artist Chuck Brown is considered the founder of the genre, which included incessant beats and the use of conga drums, cow bells and call-and-response chants. Go-go gained widespread attention in the late 1970s with the song "Bustin' Loose." After Brown went on tour, other bands popped up in and around the D.C. area. Harley joined Rare Essence in 1974, who were originally called The Young Dynamos. Harley's band, Rare Essence, was one of the most notable go-go bands and is considered to be an influential force in the genre. "When you look at go-go from a historical standpoint, Little Benny, he stands out as one of the founding fathers. Chuck Brown laid the foundation, but Rare Essence -- and Benny was part of it during that time -- built the house," said Kato Hammond, founder and editor of Take me out to the Go Go magazine. Harley was known for his energetic stage presence, his powerful voice, and the ability to play two trumpets at once.[1][2]

Later career[edit]

Harley left Rare Essence in the mid-1980s to form another group called Little Benny and the Masters. He later played with the go-go band Proper Utensils and had several reunions with original members of Rare Essence. Later in life, he played often with Chuck Brown, including a show in Washington the night before his death. He died on May 30, 2010 at his brother's home in Washington D.C.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d Brown, Emma (May 31, 2010). "Anthony 'Little Benny' dies at 46; a founding father of D.C. go-go music". The Washington Post. 
  2. ^ a b c d Kato. "Interview with Little Benny". Take me out to the Go Go Magazine. Retrieved 28 August 2014.